Edinburgh festivals break box office records again in 2016
The Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe have broken box office records for their events this year, with EIF posting ticket sales valued at more than £4 million.
The fringe issued 2,475,143 tickets for participating shows across Scotland’s capital, a 7.7% increase on 2015 despite the number of registered events and performances falling marginally on 2015 levels.
It is the third consecutive year that the fringe has broken the 2 million ticket barrier, and follows a month in which the festival hosted 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows.
The EIF issued a record 169,300 tickets for paying events, posting £4.2 million in sales, marking the first time it has topped £4 million. The number of tickets issued is up from 163,500 in 2015, when the festival posted ticket sales of £3.9 million.
A further 27,000 people attended free ticketed events at EIF and 250,000 witnessed the festival fireworks finale.
This was only the second year since 1996 that EIF and the fringe have been held simultaneously.
Hailing the result as a “spectacular success”, Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society chief executive Shona McCarthy said: “We hope that all those who attended ticketed shows, as well as the thousands of people who attended the 643 free shows in the programme, truly enjoyed their fringe experience.”
New initiatives from the society to help promote ticket sales and the audience’s ability to navigate the festival included an upgraded smartphone app for buying tickets and finding nearby shows.
In addition to the public programme, the society hosted 106 free events for participants, covering a variety of topics including international touring, fundraising and skills development at its Fringe Central buildings.
The Society also hosted the Breaking Down Barriers event, exploring accessibility, equalities and diversity at the fringe and in the wider performing arts sector.
This was McCarthy’s first fringe in the post of chief executive, having taken over from Kath Mainland earlier this year.
McCarthy said: “The fringe plays an essential role in the global arts community, providing a platform for artists from around the UK and the rest of the world to showcase their work and make new connections. With 48 countries represented in this year’s programme, the breadth and diversity of talent on offer has been astounding.”
Meanwhile, artists from 36 nations performed at EIF, totalling 2,400 individuals.
EIF director Fergus Linehan described his second year at the helm of the curated festival as “three incredible weeks”, thanking the artists whom he said continued to make the EIF one of the “wonders of the arts world”.
He added: “The EIF has always been a place for people of all nationalities to meet and exchange ideas, and we’ve seen that everywhere across the city these past three weeks.
“In uncertain times, events like this feel ever more important, and we at the international festival are honoured to have been able to host, inspire, entertain and moreover welcome so many artists and visitors from all over the world to our city.”